Chávez, una década después

Debimos saber que algo andaba mal cuando el 2 de febrero de 1999 Hugo Chávez selló su ascenso a la Presidencia de Venezuela declarando que juraba sobre “esta moribunda constitución”. La “moribunda”, como a partir de ahí quedó bautizada, había hecho posibles 8 transiciones pacíficas del poder en el país y el pleno funcionamiento de un régimen de partidos políticos y libertades individuales. Cierto es que en ese período Venezuela produjo tanta corrupción e irresponsabilidad política como barriles de petróleo, pero en el balance final había sido, políticamente hablando, un país bastante mejor al promedio latinoamericano. No era Suiza, pero sí, ciertamente, una democracia genuina.

Ya no. Pese a la obsesiva celebración de elecciones –un elemento necesario para la existencia de un sistema democrático, pero no equivalente a él—, el legado de la primera década del chavismo consiste, ante todo, en la devastación de la institucionalidad democrática. Elegido en olor de multitudes para sanear los vicios del sistema político que le precedió, el Comandante optó por tirar el agua sucia de la tina con el bebé adentro. Desapareció el sistema político anterior, incluidos el ambiente de tolerancia a las ideas ajenas y los controles sobre el ejercicio del poder, pero no murieron sus vicios, en particular la demagogia y la venalidad, hoy peores que nunca. Al igual que hace 10 años, Venezuela, que alguna vez fue uno de los destinos preferidos por los migrantes del planeta, continúa subdesarrollándose a toda prisa.

El legado de Chávez se encuentra también, y acaso fundamentalmente, en el oxígeno insuflado a algunas ideas perniciosas, que han sido, por mucho tiempo, carlancas que impiden el desarrollo político y económico de América Latina.

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